Laois Politicians get behind TJ Doheny homecoming fight


Local government is getting behind a possible TJ Doheny homecoming.

Ireland’s only reigning male world champion should be afforded the chance to fight in his home town of Portlaoise according to a members of the Laois County Council.

The town and indeed county showed their support and appreciation for the IBF world title holder with a parade and public reception after he defeated Ryosuke Iwasa in Japan to become world champion last August. 

However, Portlaoise county councillor Noel Tuohy wants to go one better and bring world title action to the county for the first time.

Tuohy tabled a motion asking Laois County Council to support the possibility in whatever way it can, suggesting a fight be held in Laois GAA grounds in O’Moore Park.

Tuohy, a member of the Labour Party, said that “TJ has won all 21 of his fights. Extraordinary stuff. He is the best on the planet at his weight. This needs to be recognised. TJ started his career in Portlaoise Boxing Club.”

“TJ’s is an extraordinary achievement. He is our Barry McGuigan and this needs to be recognised, and Pat Ryan deserves to be acknowledged.”

“What goes on in O’Moore Park is the reserve of the GAA but they have never been found wanting.”

“I know the GAA won’t be found wanting either in supporting this idea and everyone would be a winner. There is a great tradition of boxing in Portlaoise going back to Billy Blackwell. He’d give you a few slaps, in a nice way, if he caught you mitching,”

The motion received full support from the Council.

Director of Services, Michael Rainey, said that was willing to meet with all interested bodies to discuss their requirements and promised that “we won’t be found wanting.”

Doheny has the chance to become unified world champion when he takes on WBA title holder Danny Roman in an eagerly anticipated clash in LA next week.

Win that and Matchroom and the legacy driven fighter may look for another of the belt holders and another big fight Stateside would look likely – but if a more routine mandatory defense is on the cards, Portlaoise may be one of a number of options promoted Eddie Hearn may explore for the world champ.

A fight in Portlaoise would be a monumental undertaking logistically.

O’Moore Park has never hosted boxing before and the cost of running stadium fights is larger than in comparable events in arenas.

Doheny, also, is managed by Mack The Knife Global who have not had a boxer fight in the Republic of Ireland since November 2015 and there may be hurdles to overcome here too.

The fighter, who lives in Sydney and usually trains in Boston, is currently in his homeland preparing for his big unification.

Doheny has been getting sparring in with plenty of Irish fighters – especially Bray light flyweight Regan Buckley who he also fought in an exhibition on a Portlaoise BC club show earlier this month.

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]